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Palestinian women bear burden of conflict

14 July 2006

Palestinian women bear burden of conflict

The plight of Palestinian women caught up in the renewed and rapidly escalating conflict in the Middle East will be the subject of a public lecture by a prominent African American law professor at The University of Auckland next week.

Professor Adrien Wing has 24 years’ involvement with the emerging Palestinian state and its legal system. The “silent, voiceless” women of Palestine are trapped in the middle not only of the fighting with Israel but also the internal conflict between Hamas and Fatah, she says.

“Remote from the male geopolitics of the region, they are being shot at and intimidated while trying to take care of their families and keep people together. The psychological and emotional burden which women have to bear in these circumstances is often overlooked.”

Their predicament can only worsen as Lebanon is increasingly drawn into the fighting, she says.

Professor Wing will bring to the lecture her perspective as a leading exponent of critical race feminism. This is a school of thought focusing on the multiple disadvantages suffered by women of colour.

“Regardless of what country they are in, they are generally at the bottom of the social, economic and educational heap. The law can help improve their status but without other fundamental changes it is useless.”

Professor Wing, from the University of Iowa’s College of Law, has also published in such areas as constitutionalism in Namibia and South Africa; US gangs; legal decision-making in the Palestinian intifada; rape in Bosnia; and women’s rights in South Africa and Black America.

She is in New Zealand as a guest of the Law Commission.

Date: Tuesday 18 July
Time: 12noon
Place: Federation of Graduate Women Suite, Old Government House, Waterloo Quadrant, The University of Auckland


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